The world we live in is rapidly changing. As our lives change, inevitably so does the way that we work. Employees are now able to be more connected than ever, but also more distant than ever at the same time.
Sound confusing? As HR professionals, it’s our job to foster a healthy environment for our workforce, no matter where they’re working from. This means keeping up to date as our own industry evolves around us.
Here are three things to anticipate about the future of human resources.
Managing a Blended Workforce
Say it with me: the future is remote! At least for some employees. According to a survey from Software Advice, 86% of employees currently working from home want to continue to work remotely at least part of the time post-pandemic. While not every worker will have the option (or want the option) to work remotely, split staffs are quickly becoming a reality as more employees are taking advantage of remote privileges and employers add non-local candidates to their hiring search.
The benefits of remote employees can’t be denied any longer. It’s a win-win for workers who want flexibility and employers who expect the same amount of productivity.
If HR professionals haven’t adapted to managing the needs of remote employees, it’s a skill they’re going to want to improve quickly, as it’s expected that the number of people working from home pre-pandemic will double by 2022.
Skilling Up Will Become a Must
As the workforce and HR technology change, HR professionals must change as well. If we fall behind trends, it doesn’t just affect us, but potentially the wellbeing of the employees we serve and our business as well. To maintain a healthy company, we must foster a healthy workforce.
There is an increasing skills gap among several American industries, like manufacturing and cybersecurity. Not only is technology in these fields rapidly evolving past human capability to keep up to date, but new candidates aren’t pouring into the field at a rate to keep these industries running. The rate of change used to be decades, then years, then months, and now it is as little as a few weeks. It is impossible to expect a 4-year college to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and changes in industry. It falls to the employer to make sure everyone is up-to-date with all of their skills.
HR professionals can solve this problem. Step one is to supply our workforce with constant education about evolving trends and technology. Step two is to recruit to build up the next generation of our workforce. Perhaps not enough people are earning degrees in the cybersecurity field, but anyone can be trained. Future recruiting efforts should be focused on finding candidates with a proven ability to learn, rather than solely on those who have the required education, with an emphasis on underrepresented candidates.
Navigating New Employee Benefits
Candidates—especially those who know their skills are sorely needed in industries facing a skills gap—are negotiating for more quality of life benefits than ever before. Companies still hoping to reel in top talent by matching 401k’s and having a decent benefits package is going to have to go back to the drawing board.
Employees are going to start negotiating for flexible schedules, education reimbursement, company-provided internet packages for remote workers, pet insurance, wellness programs, expanded tuition reimbursement and more. And the truth is that any one of these benefits could be the make or break in getting your first choice of applicants to accept the position. Consider expanding cafeteria-style benefit plans to include a diverse set of offerings to appeal to the needs of more employees.
Some employers might balk at the cost of providing these benefits, but I encourage them to take a look at the numbers and keep this in mind: it’s going to be far less expensive to offer in-demand benefits and keep employees around than it is to constantly have to replace high-quality workers who left for greener pastures.
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